Flying by the seat of your pants is unavoidable sometimes. I even do it myself. (Don’t judge!) For instance, if I have a brilliant idea for a course or product that hasn’t been slotted into my team’s schedule, I may just go with it and ask my freelancers to help me create it on the fly.
BUT! For the most part, we entrepreneurs need to have monthly plans in place, especially when we outsource. Improvisation should be the exception, not the rule.
When we force our virtual assistants and contractors to scramble, adding stress to their lives with last-minute work and quick-turn deadlines, we’re asking for trouble. Lack of planning leads to mistakes, things getting overlooked, quality standards slipping, deadlines getting missed, team member frustration, and general disaster.
Training yourself to do monthly business planning sessions helps you get clear on your short-term goals AND helps your outsourced team feel empowered, informed, and involved.
When you prove to your freelancers and virtual assistant that you’re thinking ahead, they trust your leadership.
Here are 5 more reasons that monthly business planning makes you a better leader:
Monthly Business Planning Helps Everyone Meet Deadlines
If you have no idea what’s teed up for the coming month, how can you be sure you’ll get all the work done on time?
Say you start the month assuming you’ll be focused on client sessions, then remember that you’ve got book revisions due to your editor and a photo shoot for your book cover coming up. If you’re out of the office for the photo shoot, you may have to push off other commitments to make that possible. If you need your VA to help with the revisions, she may have to drop other work to support you…leading to missed deadlines.
Knowing what you’re going to need help with equips your virtual assistant to plan accordingly so SHE can meet her deadlines and do her job successfully. And it helps you stay on track, get your tasks done on time, and avoid disappointing your clients.
Monthly Business Planning Prevents Wasted Time
You pay your virtual assistant and team members for their time, which means you want them to be as efficient as possible with their working hours.
Without a plan, everyone on your outsourced team is either doing work in a rush at the eleventh hour (which can lead to rush fees!) or waiting for instructions on their next tasks.
Say you’ve committed to 20 hours per week for your VA. Without a business plan, she may burn through her weekly tasks in the first couple of days and then sit on her hands until she hears from you. You’re paying her to do nothing.
With a plan in place, she’ll know in advance what’s expected of her for the entire month. If she works quickly and finishes tasks for week 1, she can just move on to her week 2 work!
No wasted time, no wasted money.
Monthly Business Planning Builds Respect Among Team Members
Know who loves looking like a disorganized scatterbrain? No one, that’s who!
An entrepreneur who never knows what the coming month might hold runs the risk of looking flighty and untrustworthy.
If the month begins and you tell your virtual assistant and contractors that they only have two big ongoing projects on their plates, then pile on three smaller quick-turn projects as the weeks go by, they’ll be aggravated. They’ll need to reorganize their other work and change their schedules to accommodate these new needs.
If you’d had a plan from the start, all of your outsourced team members could have planned ahead and felt secure in knowing what was expected of them.
You don’t want your team to feel resentment towards you, which is exactly what will happen if they never know what you’ll need from them week to week.
You need to respect their business and time as well, since they do work for other clients! Planning ahead fosters that much-needed respect.
Monthly Business Planning Highlights Missing Resources
Say you’re planning a product launch at the end of the month. Dive in without a plan, and you may not be able to line up the help you need.
What if you’ve got some design tweaks and no one on your current team has the right skills? If you’d planned ahead, you could’ve found someone on Fiverr to cover those one-time needs.
If the product launch includes an in-person party to celebrate the new offering, will you need extra swag? Who’s monitoring the RSVP list and ordering drinks? If you’d planned ahead, your current team could have covered all your event needs easily. Without a plan, you’re in a bind.
Monthly Business Planning Lets Everyone Get Involved
You can certainly brainstorm and write up your monthly business plans on your own, but asking your team members for input helps them feel more invested. They may have ideas or input that will make your life easier and your business endeavors more robust!
If you want them to know that their work contributes to the overall success of your business, involve them in the monthly planning process.
Every entrepreneur who employs a virtual assistant and remote team of contractors is a leader, technically speaking. But if you drag that outsourced team into each month without a clear idea of what they’ll be expected to achieve, you’ll look less than leaderly.
When you commit to a monthly business planning process, you and your freelancers will be more effective and FAR less stressed!
PS. I Can’t Make Your To-Do List Go Away…But My Business Templates Library Will Help You Avoid Project Overwhelm So You Can Build Your Business, Free Up Your Time, and Put More Money in Your Pocket!